About the Multilingual Learners Program

Bilingual Teacher with students

The Multilingual Learners Program at SRI Education works to ensure equitable educational opportunities and outcomes for multilingual learners, from birth to post-college. Recognizing the assets that culturally and linguistically diverse learners bring and the systemic inequities they face, we support educators and policy makers to eliminate barriers and transform the quality of dual language and multilingual learners’ educational experiences by conducting rigorous research and evaluation and providing targeted technical assistance. We identify equitable policies at the district-, school-, and classroom-level that shape the day-to-day experiences of multilingual learners, their families and their teachers, and we promote effective, culturally responsive instructional practices that provide access to high-quality instruction and learning opportunities.

Who are we?

Our program team includes experts across early childhood, K-12 and postsecondary, in the fields of language and literacy, teacher preparation, education policy, STEM education, digital learning, and students with disabilities. We tackle the challenges of optimizing teaching and learning for multilingual learners by harnessing our expertise across SRI Education and maximizing our organization’s pre-established networks.

Many of us are former teachers of multilingual learners and several of us attended schools as multilingual learners. We are dedicated to identifying the root causes of inequities in schools and committed to finding and promoting solutions to promote racial justice.

What do we do?

SRI Education’s Multilingual Learners Program conducts rigorous research and evaluation and provides technical support to educators, administrators, and policy makers. Through a lens that recognizes multilingualism as an asset and centers equity as essential to successful education, we identify practices that promote educational access for multilingual learners and design and implement solutions to eradicate barriers and increase opportunities. We work closely with our SRI Education colleagues to bring a multilingual learner lens to work in early childhood, behavioral health, disabilities, teacher quality and school reform, STEM and Computer Science, digital learning, and college and career readiness.

We conduct research that answers key questions being asked by educators and policy makers, ranging from how to identify disabilities among multilingual learners to how states are addressing shortages of bilingual teachers. Our team of researchers has led federally funded research from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education, including research on high-quality mathematics instruction for multilingual learners, factors associated with postsecondary success of multilingual learners with disabilities, dual language instructional models in K-8, and high-quality instructional practices for migrant students who are multilingual learners.

Who are multilingual learners?

Multilingual learners are known by many different names, including English learners and dual language learners. We use the term multilingual learners to refer to youth, beginning at birth and continuing through college and into the workforce, who learn English while speaking one or more other languages. They are learners who have the asset of multilingualism.

Our research, evaluation, and technical assistance to help address the inequities in education for multilingual learners builds from the many assets that multilingual learners have and varies depending on their diverse experiences. Some receive targeted English language development classes (sometimes called ‘current English Learners’), while others have been reclassified as proficient in English. Many multilingual learners are immigrants, but the majority were born in the United States. Some participate in gifted programs; others are identified with disabilities. Some are in high school learning in English for the first time, and many are in preschool. Our work includes all of them.

If you are interested in working with us, we look forward to hearing from you!

About SRI Education

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SRI Education, a division of SRI, is helping federal and state agencies, school districts, major foundations, nonprofit organizations, and international and commercial clients tackle some of the most complex issues in education to help students succeed. Our mission is to reduce barriers, optimize outcomes, and ensure educational equity for all children, youth, and families. We do this by conducting high-quality research, supporting use of data and evidence, helping to strengthen state and local systems, and developing tools that improve teaching and accelerate and deepen learning. Our work covers a range of topics: early learning and development, disability and inclusion, supporting multilingual learners, student behavior and well-being, teaching quality, digital learning, STEM and computer science, and literacy and language arts, and college and career pathways. We believe diversity in our organization and project teams leads to better and more equitable research and technical assistance, resulting in improved outcomes for all.

SRI is a nonprofit research institute whose innovations have created new industries, extraordinary marketplace value, and lasting benefits to society.